Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I have heard it said that going from one to two children is harder than none to one. In line at the co-op, I heard a mom tell a friend of mine that having 2 children is not double the work, it's exponential the amount of work. Good thing Liam was already cooking, cause that was pretty discouraging on the procreation front.

Perhaps we're not there yet, but 2 1/2 weeks into it, I have to say that this is not as hard as going from none to one. sure, liam is an easy baby as far as babies go, but there are some key differences. For one thing, I know about babies. We aren't charting his wet and poopy diapers, or running to the Dr. Sears Baby Book about every grunt or random red spot that shows up on his skin. When he fusses or cries, i have some idea of what to do and feel fairly competent as opposed to when i was a new mom with Raelin and responding to her crying often felt like playing darts blindfolded. I had no clue. Thoughts about throwing the baby out the window don't freak me out. yes, that's right, throwing the baby out the window. Now, i haven't really felt this about Liam yet, but I'm sure i will. I did with Raelin. This time around, I know that that it's a fleeting thought in a stressful moment; i'm not coming down with post-partum psychosis, and more importantly, i know for sure that i won't do it. of course, i never honestly thought that i would throw raelin out the window, but having never had a baby before or experienced such intense ranges of emotion, it freaked me out a bit. plus i have other moms to vent with! i was so desperate to meet other moms when raelin was a baby i pretty much stalked any woman with an infant around stores until i found some way to approach her and make some-any- connection.

and then there's the identity thing...becoming a parent within a matter of hours is a crazy change in identity that takes months and sometimes well over a year to incorporate into one's sense of self. As i nuzzle Liam's super-soft head and read a book to Raelin, i have thought, why does this seem so much easier? besides all the stuff from above, which is significant, i think the biggest difference is that i am already a mom. I did my battles with Productive Mind that first year with Raelin, when i always felt like i should, or needed to be doing something else besides being with her... and then i feeling guilty for wanting to do something other than be with my daughter. I tried to cram a zillion things into her nap time, or wished she would entertain herself so i could entertain myself. I struggled with the need to DO, even while i could often hardly stand to be away from her.

and now, 3 years later, i am way over Productive Mind. I have parenting struggles, but less identity struggles. Being a mom is who i am right now, and everything else had to work into that, not against it. this is what's easy about having a second child, about being with Liam. There's no struggle. There's just appreciation and awe at this new being, and in watching my first-born become a sister, and my husband the father of a son.


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